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March 24, 2007

Marikina Manolobile


The photo above by Romeo Ranoco appeared in the November 12, 2004 online edition of the Chandigarh, India Tribune.

The caption read, "A Filipino makes a turn while testing a 1,000 cc Japanese motor cycle made into a giant ladies shoe at a busy street of Marikina city, east of Manila, on Thursday. The city government spent 91,000 pesos ($1,600) to build the galvanised iron shoe to promote Marikina's main shoe-making industry that has slackened due to cheap shoes imported from China."

Years passed.

This past Thursday, March 22, 2007, on the contents page of my LIFE magazine supplement to USA Today, that very same picture, this time blown up to occupy nearly two-thirds of the page, was named "Picture of the Week."

Better late than never.

The LIFE caption read, "Having lost their well-heeled first lady several years back following an international scandal that was famous for its footwear footnote, Filiponos have turned to a more pedestrian mascot to promote their flagging shoe industry. Officials in the city of Marikina, tired of being stomped by inexpensive Chinese imports, cobbled together $1,600 (not an awful lot more than what Imelda Marcos probably paid for a pair of Ferragamos) to fashion this fuchsia pump out of a street bike and a lot of galvanized iron. The Manolobile now scoots around the streets of Marikina doing what any good stiletto does: adding a little stature and making heads turn."

Got a 2004 stiletto I wear with my hoodie
It's hot, very fuchsia not an oldie but a goodie

Bonus: my crack research team got out the atomic force microscope and deciphered the writing on the sign between the shoe's heel and sole — it reads:

    City of Marikina

    Motorized Cycle Footwear



March 24, 2007 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shape-Shifting Clock — Episode 2: Color


Episode 1 this past Wednesday offered endless possibilities, and any colors you liked as long as they were brown.

Now comes the full-spectrum iteration.

From the website:

    blocks clock

    Design your own modern wall clock with colorful, free-form blocks.

    The clock hands are on a silver block.

    Arrange it with the 12 colored blocks any way you want: round, linear or random — you can really get creative and make your own modern art.

    Includes the silver clock block with 12" black hands, 12 plastic blocks (pink, white, green, yellow, aqua, two red, orange, green, light blue, royal blue and black) and adhesive strips for simple installation.

    Uses one AA battery (not included).


March 24, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

On Individual and Cosmic Loneliness — by E. M. Cioran


One can experience loneliness in two ways: by feeling lonely in the world or by feeling the loneliness of the world. Individual loneliness is a personal drama; one can feel lonely even in the midst of great natural beauty. An outcast in the world, indifferent to its being dazzling or dismal, self-consumed with triumphs and failures, engrossed in inner drama — such is the fate of the solitary. The feeling of cosmic loneliness, on the other hand, stems not so much from man's subjective agony as from an awareness of the world's isolation, of objective nothingness. It is as if all the splendors of this world were to vanish at once, leaving behind the dull monotony of a cemetary. Many are haunted by the vision of an abandoned world encased in glacial solitude, untouched by even the pale reflections of a crepuscular light. Who is more unhappy? He who feels his own loneliness or he who feels the loneliness of the world? Impossible to tell, and besides, why should I bother with a classification of loneliness? Is is not enough that one is alone?

I leave it in writing for those who will come after me that I do not believe in anything and that forgetfulness is the only salvation. I would like to forget everything, to forget myself and to forget the world. True confessions are written with tears only. But my tears would drown the world, as my inner fire would reduce it to ashes. I don't need any support, encouragement, or consolation because, although I am the lowest of men, I feel nonetheless so strong, so hard, so savage! For I am the only man who lives without hope, the apex of heroism and paradox. The ultimate madness! I should channel my chaotic and unbridled passion into forgetfulness, escaping spirit and consciousness. I too have a hope: a hope for absolute forgetfulness. But is it hope or despair? Is it not the negation of all future hopes? I want not to know, not to know even that I do not know. Why so many problems, arguments, vexations? Why the consciousness of death? How much longer all this thinking and philosophizing?

March 24, 2007 at 02:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Drivemocion — Put on a smiley face... on your car?

That's the idea behind Au-My's Drivemocion (above and below).

Elva Ramirez wrote about it in the March 22, 2007 Wall Street Journal; her article follows.

    Instant Messaging For the Traffic-Bound

    What It Is: Drivers no longer have to rely on a hand wave or a bumper sticker to send a message to fellow motorists. Car-to-car messaging products range from cute light-up smiley faces to customizable electronic mini-billboards. You also can have an actual conversation with another motorist on a shared, anonymous cellular service that mixes social networking and driving.

    How to Get It: Au-My's Drivemocion flashes sad or smiley faces as well as text messages such as "Thanks," "Back off" and the more pointed "Idiot" to other drivers. Battery-powered Drivemocion sticks to the back window with a suction cup and is controlled by a wireless remote. For those who want more of a say in messaging, they can set up personalized scrolling mini-billboards in a car window or on a license plate. Motion LED's mobile billboard also attaches to a window with a suction cup and is controlled via remote. The Mini version holds up to nine messages, while the Pro-series holds up to 24 notes. Roadmaster's digital license-plate frame scrolls messages in red letters in three different speeds. Drivers who sign up with Delta Meridian Inc.'s SameLane place stickers on their car and register their license plate and cellphone; when they come across each other, they call the service, which rings up the fellow SameLane member.

    Upside: You can thank people for letting you cut in front of them on the highway. You can flirt or compare traffic notes, should others deign to pick up the phone. SameLane protects actual phone numbers by disguising the caller ID.

    Downside: There are enough distractions to driving and the technology is only as friendly as the people behind the wheel. Drivemocion's smiley faces are harmless but flashing "Idiot" to someone could be inviting trouble. With LED messages, you may irritate just about every driver behind you forced to watch the scrolling red lights.

    Cost: Order the Drivemocion (starting at around $25) from www.au-my.com. Motion LEDs range from $150 to $600 and can be purchased from www.motionled.com. Digital license plates from Roadmaster run $60 at www.roadmasterusa.com/accessories_rm.php. SameLane is expected to be available to the public May 2007; registration is free at samelane.com. The first three-minute call is free after which you have to purchase time in $10 increments; minutes will show up on your cellphone bill.


For people who live in road rage-prone cities, Au-My might considering offering a "Thank you for not shooting" version.

March 24, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blog Word Frequency Pie Chart — How big are your pieces?


origamifreak began a March 13, 2007 blog post as follows: "I did a little experiment today."

I love things that begin quietly like that.

But I digress: this isn't about me, it's about the wonderful execution and results of that experiment, part of which you can visualize above and read about in their entirety here.

The caption for the graphic above reads: "The rings are, in order from outside in: this blog, Abstractions, Terminus Est, bookofjoe."

origamifreak's accompanying email read, "I wonder if you've ever heard of a utility that ranks word distributions on websites the way Amazon does books? I think this could be an interesting way to browse the web, and I can't imagine I'm the only one who has thought of this."

The next day a new email added, "I wish someone would write a real-time word distribution collator. They could set a threshold for the number of shared rare words between the desired number of blogs, and show you similar blogs that use the same kinds of rare words. I'm surprised Google hasn't already done something like this.... Maybe they're working on it and we just don't know about it yet? I've emailed them and suggested it to the blogsearch team. Who knows? :-)."

Me, I think it would be very cool to find out whose Venn diagrams crossed with mine, with yoctosecond and TechnoDolt™ being the operative terms.


March 24, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Oba-Q Lamp


Designed by Shiro Kuramata in 1972.

"Made of white acrylic, this beautiful lamp is said to have been inspired by the folds of a dropped handkerchief."

40cm x 40cm x 40cm (16" x 16" x 16").

¥31,290 ($265; €199; £135).

March 24, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Best cartoon of the month


March 24, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Pen Oiler


Say what?

From the website:

    Stamp out squeaks with the Precision Pen Oiler

    “Squeak!” goes the screen door.

    “Squawk!” goes the hinge.

    “Squee!” goes the bike chain.

    Pretty damn annoying, all that rusty racket in your house or garage.

    But things’ll work a lot smoother and quieter, with a drop of oil or two from the Pen Oiler.

    It clips to your pocket and works just like a pen: push the button and out comes oil, one precise drop at a time.

    Oil compartment is O-ring sealed, so it won’t leak.

    Rugged brushed aluminum finish.

    5½" long.

    You may use it every day — even on things that don’t need oiling!


Is that an oiler in your pocket, or are you just glad...?

Those who reside in metal-free environments might want to inquire as to the origin of such sounds as "Squeak," "Squawk" and "Squee."

But I digress.

Note to file: Get a supply of these for the Christmas stockings of my friends over at MAKE magazine.

$12.50 (oil not included — except for Flautist, who will receive, from me, a lifetime supply at no additional charge).

March 24, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

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